Load capacity: 8 / 1,265 lb.
Fuel capacity: 41 gal.
Dry weight: 2,800 lb.
Maximum HP: 400
Base price: $44,444
Construction: In our tests and factory tours, we have been consistently amazed with Malibu’s superior construction and industry-leading fit and finish. Credit goes to the patented Fiberglass Engine Chassis System that anchors the soft ride, as well as everything from Malibu’s in-house machine shop that forges the swivel pylons and Wedge to its on-the-water designers who craft the tournament-quality hulls.
Dash: This is one of the plushest dashes anywhere. We’ve seen the technicians hand-wrap the vinyl that envelops this sweet console with huge billet insert. In addition to the exceptional LCD dash display that can be seen in direct sunlight, for ’08 Malibu has added LCD switches to control aspects such as the lighting, stereo and other add-on features.
Seating: Malibu excels in practically every aspect of boatbuilding, including seating design. The upholstery overall hits the ideal balance of being cushy yet supportive, with intricate stitching throughout, even under seats. New this year is the addition of Duraguard Vinyl to resist stains and wider driver’s seats with side-mounted swivel control.
Bow: Like the rest of the Malibu line, the Response LXi's bow is wrapped in some of the best upholstery we’ve seen, with new Duraguard stain protection and foam that’s supportive without being too stiff or too beanbag-esque. Gunwale-mounted stainless-steel grab rails add to the security of the ride.
Main cabin: The Response LXi isn’t the widest boat in Malibu’s line, but it still has good walkway space around the engine box as well as legroom at the rear bench. We measured this main area at 65 square feet with a gunwale height of 24 inches at the driver’s seat.
Storage: This Response LXi sports 62 cubic feet of storage, with compartments featuring stainless hinges, sturdy hydraulic lifts and full carpeting. The carpeting we saw in the cabin is the same carpeting we saw tucked into even the far reaches of the storage areas. A 45-quart cooler is under the rear lounge seat.
Ballast: No ballast system in this ski machine.
Stereo: As soon as our test team got a first glimpse of the new USB port in the optional Rockford Fosgate sound system, the iPod shuffle was plugged in and cranking. Even if we had forgotten the iPod, Malibu includes a 1-gig pocket drive and a 1-gig built-in hard drive.
Engine: This Response LXi comes standard with the 5.7-liter Indmar LCR with 320 horsepower. The next option is the Indmar 5.7-liter Monsoon with 340 horsepower and new ETX catalytic converter. The 6.2-liter Hammerhead 383 is also available at 400 horsepower.
Tower: Malibu offers the stylish, swept-back Illusion X tower as an option on the Response LXi. Anchored behind the windshield, it offers full driver visibility. The Titan III is also available for the traditional metal-tube look.
Graphics: A simple Malibu logo on the transom is the main look here. We like that the name on the exterior gunwale is a stainless-steel piece rather than a decal.
More features: The windshield-mounted convex rearview mirror comes standard on the Response LXi. Driver’s seat heater, two removable launch seats, carpet saver and chrome pylon are among the options available.
Location: Lake Tulloch, California
Elevation: 520 feet
Air temp.: 91°
Water temp.: 76°
With 400 hp engine (320 hp standard) and Acme 13×13 three-blade prop
To 30 mph: 4.5 sec., 103.4 ft.
To 36 mph: 5.6 sec., 160.2 ft.
Top speed: 49.5 mph, 5,150 rpm
Bow rise: 22 degrees during typical acceleration for skiing. Good visibility coming out of the hole.
Tracking: Exceptional tracking, even with a strong skier swerving into shortline.
Turns: Very pinpoint, truly like a sports car as we turned for fallen skiers — and tore up the lake.
Max G-force crossing wake at 30 mph: 0.95
Very smooth, both because the wake size was minimal and the solid Malibu construction.
Bow: 12 sq. ft.
Floor to tower: 5 ft. 5 in.
Gunwale height: 2 ft.
Main lounge: 65 sq. ft.
Sun pad: 14 sq. ft.
Platform: 9 sq. ft.
We photographed this ski wake at 34 mph. Our test skiers had a lot of experience behind the Response LXi thanks to its participation in tournaments across the country (including WaterSki’s own Pro Slalom Shootout). These wakes are low and flat with a perfect shape. The trough is very flat with no dip. There’s a little more shortline spray than expected, but otherwise it excels at virtually all speeds and line lengths.
Overall: No question, it’s a pro-level performer.
Engine Indmar LCR 5.7L, 320 hp
Prop Acme 13 x 12 three-blade
Cruise Malibu Precision Pro
Tower option only
Wake shaper Option only
Driver’s Seat Swivel, bolster, adjustable lumbar support
Dash Hand-wrapped vinyl, billet aluminum insert
Gauges 5-inch Medallion plus LCD
Stereo Option only
Gas Fill Dual rear
Cooler 45 qt., in floor
Cup Holders 6, stainless steel
Platform Teak, removable
Trailer Option only
Graphics Response series
Colors 22 colors in seven color ways
Engine Monsoon 5.7L, 340 hp; Hammerhead 6.2L, 400 hp
Tower Titan III, swivel racks
Wake shaper On-the-fly or manually adjustable foil
Stereo Rockford Fosgate unit with USB port and 1-gig hard drive, 1-gig USB pocket drive, up to 4 Rockford Fosgate speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, satellite radio-ready
Platform Fiberglass with rubber, removable
Trailer Single- or tandem-axle
Misc. Heater, shower